Mother of 25-year old killed by Spokane County deputies says he suffered from mental illness

Twenty five year old Ethan Murray was killed on Saturday by a Spokane County deputy responding to a call for a disorderly man running around an area where children were playing, and who appeared high.

Deputies reported that Murray tried to run away towards a homeless encampment and would not cooperate with commands. After appearing to reach for something in his pocket, he was shot multiple times.

As of the latest report from the investigation, no weapon has been found.

Now Ethan’s mother is speaking out about her son’s struggles with mental illness.

“He was a nature lover, he especially loved dogs, he could knit a scarf, he could play violin, but most of all he loved being in the mountains,” said Justine Murray, his mother.

She says Ethan was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 19 and also suffered from paranoia.

“There is so much stigma around mental health and people don’t want to talk about it,” she said, “the don’t want to ask and they are fearful.”

She says Ethan has been in and out of care but that in too many ways her hands have been tied in trying to get him help.

“Once they are over 18, you have no voice, you aren’t allowed to talk to doctors, you aren’t allowed to take them into hospitals, you have no voice yet you are their biggest advocate, you are the one that loves them,” she said.

In the back of her mind she told KXLY that she always feared that she would get the call regarding her son’s life, but never thought it would be one like this.

“I’ve dreamt of this call, I’ve had nightmares about this call, I didn’t think it would be a police call, I’d have thought addiction, or overdose, or that he was found on a highway or the train tracks,” she said.

She said her son and others that struggle from mental illnesses often turn to drugs. She suspects that’s what he was doing when he was killed.

“Most people that struggle choose drugs and are self medicating,” she said, “they just want to feel normal.”

As for what normal means with the loss of her son, she isn’t sure, but hopes that law enforcement looks into what normal means after hearing that her son was shot multiple times.

“I feel like we need more training for officers, and I know it’s lack of funding, and I know they feel awful about the situation and they don’t have choices, and they don’t know how to de-escalate, but we need to change that,” she said.

The shooting is currently being investigated by a regional investigative team headed by the Spokane Police. The name of the deputy will be released at a later date. That deputy has been placed on leave as per protocol.

That investigative team will put together a report for prosecutors to determine if the deputy was justified to use deadly force.

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